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'Fashioning Art from Paper' is a triumph

“Fashioning Art from Paper” by Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave, an exhibition currently on view at The Wichita Art Museum, is, dare I say it, a triumph.

De Borchgrave, originally trained as a painter, fashion and fabric designer, has been at work as an artist for nearly 60 years. After a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in 1994 sparked her interest, de Borchgrave began to create her first series of dresses, fashioned entirely of paper.

From those beginnings she has gone on to reimagine and create a 500-year history of fashion from around the world—all life-size three-dimensional examples, in paper. Dresses, kaftans, tunics, shoes, jewelry, and bags painted with acrylic, ink, metallic powders, and adhesives. The “paper” used range from kraft paper, to a gauze-type paper from England, to Belgian papers commonly used to wrap chocolate candy.

The colors and textures in this show are an absolute symphony for the senses. The exhibition is far from sparse—packed from floor to ceiling with fabulous examples that will have you talking.

This is easily one of the finest shows I have seen at WAM, and you shouldn’t miss it.

“Fashioning Art from Paper” On view through May 14th.

Curt Clonts is a Wichita-born artist who volunteers as KMUW's art reviewer. When Curt isn’t working in his College Hill studio he is usually spending time with his wife, kids, and grandkids. He also spends the spring and summer months kayaking and camping.